[Ads-l] ABC (was Re: XYZ revived)

Margaret Lee 0000006730deb3bf-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Wed Dec 21 07:49:43 EST 2016


My now-adult children and their friends used 'XYZ' often when they were growing up, mid-'70's,  '80's, and mid-90's.
--Margaret Lee


 
      From: Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM>
 To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU 
 Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2016 8:53 PM
 Subject: Re: ABC (was Re: XYZ revived)
   
Do you button up?

> On 20 Dec 2016, at 17:51, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> I have spent many, many decades on your planet without ever encountering
> "XYZ" any where, any how.
> 
> JL
> 
> On Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 4:04 PM, Mark Mandel <thnidu at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> I've known "XYZ" for a long time. I used it just a few days ago to a man,
>> maybe 25-35, who picked up on it with no hesitation and attended to the
>> need. It's *short* and, if you know the expression, clear, so it's easy to
>> mutter in passing without noticeably (to others) speaking to the addressee.
>> 
>> Mark
>> 
>> On Dec 15, 2016 4:18 PM, "Barretts Mail" <mail.barretts at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 
>>> Around the same time in the 1970s, I recall the use of “ABC gum” to mean
>>> “gum that’s Already Been Chewed.”
>>> 
>>> The ridiculousness of that notwithstanding, I see that it continues to
>>> have currency today.
>>> 
>>> Urban Dictionary
>>> http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=abc%20gum
>>> 
>>> Fake ABC Gum as a gag
>>> https://www.amazon.com/Fake-Trick-Pink-Chewed-Practical/dp/B00IEHD1F2 <
>>> https://www.amazon.com/Fake-Trick-Pink-Chewed-Practical/dp/B00IEHD1F2>
>>> 
>>> Benjamin Barrett
>>> Formerly of Seattle, WA
>>> 
>>>> On 15 Dec 2016, at 09:48, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> I share Benjamin B.'s recollection of its use in the '70s. I grew up in
>>>> central NJ, but the newspaper databases show scattered usage all over
>> by
>>>> that point -- sometimes with elaborations like "XYZ, PDQ." (One that
>> I'm
>>>> not familiar with is the retort "ABC!" -- for "Already Been Checked.")
>>>> Earliest example I've found is from 1966:
>>>> 
>>>> ---
>>>> Evansville (Ind.) Courier and Press, Mar. 1, 1966, p. 9, col. 1
>>>> [Genealogybank]
>>>> "Morning Assignment: Youngsters Have a Language All Their Own" by Joe
>>> Aaron
>>>> Young boys, for example -- those, say, in the fifth or sixth grades in
>>>> school -- are known to have a great deal of difficulty with the zippers
>>> on
>>>> their pants, so that the dad-ratted fasteners sometimes don't fasten
>> very
>>>> well at ll.
>>>> On such an occasion, I have been informed by one of my younger agents,
>>> one
>>>> boy hisses to the other:
>>>> "XYZ!"
>>>> Translation: "Examine your zipper!"
>>>> ---
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> On Thu, Dec 15, 2016 at 9:26 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu
>>> 
>>>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>> Barn doors were still open in the fifties, but the horse’s whereabouts
>>>>> didn’t usually need to be specified.  Can’t say as I’d ever heard
>> “XYZ”
>>>>> though (and  Petersville time checks wouldn’t have helped in the
>>> post-war
>>>>> Zipper Age).
>>>>> 
>>>>> LH
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>>> On Dec 15, 2016, at 12:23 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> On Wed, Dec 14, 2016 at 2:59 PM, Barretts Mail <
>>> mail.barretts at gmail.com>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> I recall this acronym for “examiner your zipper” being used in the
>>> 1970s
>>>>>>> to mean “your zipper is open.”
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> It's brand-new to me. Back in button days of the '40's, we said,
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> "It's [number of buttons unbuttoned] o'clock in Petersville"
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>                                      or
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> "Your barn-door's open (and your horse is getting out),"
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> which also works for zippered flies.
>>>>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>> 
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

   
 

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